Bluetooth headsets have been widely used for quite some time and their primary purpose over the years has been as ‘hands free’ solutions that allow people to talk while they are driving or busy doing other things. Chances are you already knew this, but what you may not know is that there are really two different types of Bluetooth headsets that can be found: Mono or stereo.
Mono Bluetooth headsets are the more common design and feature a single earpiece with an attached microphone. On the other hand stereo Bluetooth headsets feature two earpieces that are linked to each other via wires or a band. As you can imagine stereo headsets are generally better when it comes to listening to music, but that isn’t what these devices are primarily used for.
Below you’ll find the top 10 Bluetooth headsets for tablets or smartphones, that will give you a great experience on all fronts.
1. Aliph Jawbone Era
With the amount of features present in the Jawbone Era, calling it a Bluetooth headset often feels like a gross understatement. It performs its role as a headset impressively, and its audio and mic quality are both very high. Also included is an accelerometer that right now allows it to perform two functions: ShakeShake and TapTap. Basically ShakeShake means that you can simply shake the handset twice to pick up a call which is handy if it has been left on the desk, whereas TapTap allows you to tap the surface twice to pick up a call, which is handy if it is already in your ear. The only downside of this device is the fact that it doesn’t have a dedicated volume control on the headset itself.
2. Plantronics Voyager Pro UC
At first glance its retro-looks may fool you, but the Voyager Pro UC is actually a fairly intelligent device. It features Plantronics’ new Smart Sensor technology that can ‘sense’ whether or not the headset is in your ear and react accordingly. For example, if there is an incoming call and you place it in your ear, it will automatically pick up that call. Similarly, if you’re listening to music and you remove it from your ear, it will pause the music. With its noise-cancellation technology, the audio quality is crisp and clear but many people find the design of the mic to be a bit of a turn off.
3. Jabra Supreme UC
Extremely mobile, the Jabra Supreme UC can be folded up into a small ball if you want to carry it around and yet it still packs all the features that you’d expect from a Bluetooth headset. It has dual mics for outgoing noise cancellation, and even uses a 24mm speaker that has noise cancellation for incoming audio too. Its design is a little bit retro and the mic band may not appeal to everyone, but overall it is still a decent entrant.
4. Motorola Elite Silver
When it comes to sound quality, the Elite Silver is able to punch above its weight in most regards and it heaps on noise cancellation technology despite its compact stature. Unfortunately its design is the source of many of its problems as it can be uncomfortable for some people and may even fit badly if you wear glasses.
5. Plantronics Marque M155
Foregoing the trademark telemarketer look that many Plantronics Bluetooth headsets tend to have, the Marque M155 is a sleek and small device that may not have the best audio quality in the world but is able to boast of being among the lightest out there since it weighs in at only 7 grams. To put that into perspective, it will feel as if you have a pencil tucked behind your ear, albeit one that you can control using voice commands.
6. Jawbone Icon HD & Nerd Adapter
In itself, the Jawbone Icon HD is a great Bluetooth headset with good audio quality thanks to its speaker that is larger than the original Icon’s and can produce much clearer sound. What really makes this package unique however is the Nerd adapter that is included along with it and is a USB device that will help you to pair it with your PC without any hassle whatsoever. It literally is ‘plug and play’ in the sense that you won’t even have to twitch a finger once it is plugged in.
7. BlueAnt Q2
When it first came out, the BlueAnt Q2 was definitely in the top 5 Bluetooth headsets but it has since dropped up primarily because its main claim to fame lay in its extensive voice-command functions that were great when paired with previous generations of smartphones but take the backseat now with Siri and Android voice recognition software. That being said, it is still a nice Bluetooth headset with clear audio output and some of the voice commands are still useful at times.
8. Motorola CommandOne
The fact that the CommandOne is intended to accompany the Motorola Droid series of smartphones should be obvious from the time you switch it on and it announces that fact into your ear. Still, it is a good dual-mic headset that manages to cancel out most background noise. Also, it does have basic voice commands as well as A2DP support.
9. Plantronics BackBeat Go
On the stereo Bluetooth headset front, one of the most interesting is the BackBeat Go which is a rather minimalist device that features two earbuds that are connected with a thin wire that has the volume control and mic in the center. In short it is small, light, and yet performs regardless of whether you’re listening to music or taking voice calls.
10. Samsung Ultra-Slim WEP350
Stylish and cheap, the Ultra-Slim WEP350 is a very basic Bluetooth headset that will do its job but its sound quality is really only moderate. That means that you may hear some background noise and even the occasional scratching interference with the audio. All things considered, it is a pretty nice basic model however and it is priced accordingly as well.
As you can see there are a variety of Bluetooth headsets that are available, and they all incorporate different types of technology. In the near future we’ll probably see an influx of new headsets that take advantage of Bluetooth 4.0, but that will only happen once more smartphones and tablets support Bluetooth 4.0 as well.